For nearly 30 years, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s critically acclaimed graphic novel, Sandman, has been stuck in limbo. After years of changing hands for the rights to release this coveted yet highly complex project, Netflix took over and the production is now underway.
Last Updated: 02.57 AM, Jul 21, 2022
Originally released as a comic series under DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, now rebranded as Black Label, Sandman became a New York Times bestseller. A distinction only four other graphic novels shared at the time – Maus, The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. Out of the aforementioned titles, all of them with the exception of Maus are DC Comics’ publications.
The basic concept of Sandman is unique, new readers and new viewers on Netflix will be forced to broaden their imaginations as they will be pulled into a vast world within the larger universe of the DC lore. The story is about the Lord of Dreams known by multiple aliases but more commonly known by just Dream or Morpheus. Morpheus is an anthropomorphic representation of dreams and stories. He is part of a group of powerful beings called the Endless, which has been in existence since the dawn of time.
It is merely hypothetical that the Netflix series will be able to recreate the magic of the comic books in the live-action adaptation at the moment, but there is a lot of optimism amongst fans and the producers that the show will be a success. Neil Gaiman himself is involved in the production so the chances of an instant classic on Netflix seem very much on the cards.
Netflix released a ‘behind the scenes’ exclusive on the set showcasing the various set designs as well as interviews with Gaiman, the cast, and the crew. Gaiman expressed immense pleasure and joy at the level of ingenuity and attention to detail given to set designs, which aim to recreate some of the most visually complex scenes in history. It is also quite possibly one of the reasons why people have struggled for so long to produce a faithful adaptation of one of the most iconic stories ever told.
Tom Sturridge (who plays Dream) and Gwendoline Christie from Game of Thrones (who plays Lucifer) are ‘obsessive’ fans of the Sandman comics. This is not the first time Netflix has decided to cast actors who are fans of the content they are producing. For instance, Henry Cavil who was cast as the lead for The Witcher admitted that he played the entire game, Witcher III: Wild Hunt, nearly two and half times, which would equate to hundreds of hours for a game as massive as the third instalment of the series.
It is easy to understand the logic behind making such casting choices, as fans might not take too kindly to unfaithful adaptations of beloved characters. Writers and actors who are well versed in the lore of the story and the characters offer a better chance at producing an adaptation staying true to the source material. With regards to what the audience can expect from the upcoming releases, Gaiman’s description of the project was simple.
“This is Sandman being made for people who love Sandman, by people who love Sandman.”
While most people automatically associate comic books or graphic novels with superheroes, a genre that is overwhelmed with movies and TV shows at the moment, Sandman sets itself apart. This is quite ironic considering it is within the larger DC universe which has Batman, Green Lantern, and Superman. It is in fact a story about omniscient beings and the mysteries of the occult. Netflix is yet to reveal an official release date, but an announcement is likely to happen pretty soon.